The 15th Lok Sabha elections are now in their final stage. With 8 phases over, and one more to go, the nation eagerly waits for its next prime minister. These elections are not just about the heated discussions and controversial statements that float the air, they are about the celebration of the rise in voting turnouts, the step towards establishment of ‘NOTA’, and the general desire to be politically aware. The greatest success of a democracy lies in the establishment of a healthier relationship between the government and the people.
The voter turnout, is a classic example; West Bengal 80.51% voter turnout recorded highest polling in the 8th phase followed by Seemandhra 76%, Himmachal Pradesh 66%, Uttarakhand 62%, Bihar 58% and Uttar Pradesh 55.52% till 5 pm. Jammu and Kashmir recorded 49.98% voter turnout on two seats. This is what the 8th phase of elections has achieved. The figures seem to indicate that there are more these elections than a routine 5 year administrative procedure.
None of the Above (NOTA), a new addition to the election procedure allows the people to cast their vote even if they dislike all the candidates in their respective constituencies. While this addition could go through some revision so that it could be more influential in the election results, the NOTA percentages on the counting day will perhaps put pressure on the parties to put forward candidates that the ordinary man looks up to.
The landmark of these elections lies in the fact that finally Bollywood posters are being replaced by political ones, that train journeys often have the echo of who deserves to be the next prime minister; the number of 'selfies' that are flooding about, more often than not, have voters proudly flashing their inked fingers. The common man is becoming politically aware. Colleges and universities across the nation have students locked in tremendous debates about the morality of the future. Most colleges now have students volunteering to help spread awareness and campaigning for the various political parties. And there in lies the success of Lok Sabha elections 2014.
But, despite all this excitement and enthusiasm for the elections, will the next government be able to keep up with the expectations of the public? The Varanasi rally clashes between the Election Commission and Narendra Modi, and the obsession on the word play of “Neech Rajneeti” have flooded the social media. Was this ‘caste spin’ really needed? Narendra Modi's campaign on development, has created a lot of hope of change among the youth, but if the next government does not keep up with these expectations, then the common man may lose interest in issues of governance, leading to the same apathy we've seen earlier. While the colourful and enticing propaganda may have caught our eye, what the public is really looking forward to, is some real meaningful change to our lives.